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Stabilizing Aqueous Three-Dimensional Printed Constructs Using Chitosan-Cellulose Nanocrystal Assemblies.

Abstract

The assembly and binding of nanoparticles at the interfaces of aqueous two-phase systems enable the three-dimensional (3D) printing of all-aqueous naturally occurring materials. When a dispersion of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) in an aqueous solution of polyethylene glycol (PEG) is brought into contact with chitosan dissolved in an aqueous solution of dextran, the CNCs and chitosan diffuse to the interface between the two immiscible aqueous solutions, electrostatically interact, and form a solid, membranous layer sufficiently rapidly to 3D print tubules of one liquid in the other. The diameter, length, spatial arrangement, and stability of the printed tubules can be broadly controlled. Adsorption and directional diffusion of ionic species across the membranous layer make heavy metal ion removal possible. The results present a platform for fabricating and developing all-aqueous compartmentalized systems where function can be independently coupled to the inherent functionality of the nanoparticles or ligands.

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